Meadville Tribune

February 12, 2014

Cochranton library board looks to cut future costs on new building

By Konstantine Fekos
Meadville Tribune

COCHRANTON — The Cochranton Area Public Library Board of Trustees may look to cut potential future costs on the new library building, slated for construction behind the current location, for which they’ve recently opened bids.

Trustees discussed Phase 1 project bids at a special meeting Tuesday night, reviewing estimates and planning further discussion tonight with a representative of New York-based architectural firm Clark Patterson Lee.

Approximate main bids received include $570,233.35 from Roche Builders, $526,858 from Hill Construction, $591,086 from Norbert B. Miller Construction and $514,000 from Bernarding’s Builders, all based in Cochranton.

Bids will hold for 180 days, according to Nadena Kramer, library director, and include alternate costs for additional features, including a lift mechanism for cleaning and bulb replacement of a large foyer light and exterior pole-mounted light sighting and wiring installation; and performance and payment bonds regarding material and labor costs.

“The builders are well-respected people in the community,” Kramer said. “They have good reputations.”

Trustees said that each of the bids came in relatively over budget based on current architectural plans and compared to an approximate $400,000 cap for which they initially planned, according to Joan Kardos, treasurer.

“I was sure we’d be in the $400,000 category,” she said, claiming the board was clear on affordability with its project affiliates prior to the bidding stage.

Trustees mentioned reviewing and possibly altering the current architectural designs to see where they can cut costs.

“Contractors all say they can find ways to trim the fat once their bid is chosen,” she said. “They’re all willing to discuss the project.”

Certain changes have already been made to design plans regarding the roof shape, potential attic space and pillar structures, according to Susan Armburger, board president.

Phase 1 bids do not include cabinetry, shelving or any Phase 2 work, which includes demolition of the current building, parking lot paving and landscaping, Kramer said.

“The old building is in rather poor health,” she added, mentioning an ongoing leak, ice dam issue and high seasonal utility costs. “This building has to come down or there will be no parking lot for the next one.”

The board of trustees made no final decisions as of their Tuesday meeting and reserve the right to accept or reject any bid approximately within the next six months.